South African Wine Farm Goes Solar

Part of the Graham Beck Solar Installation (Solareff)

South Africa – A wine maker, Graham Beck Wines, has installed a solar photovoltaic (PV) system at their Madeba estate located in the heart of South Africa’s winelands in the Western Cape Province.

Graham Beck, who boasts a green culture, has taken advantage of the abundant sunshine in the Robertson area of the Western Cape.

“With all the sunshine hours in the Robertson area we have a high solar irradiation factor. That factor, combined with the fact that all the roof areas on our structures are positioned at the perfect angle for optimizing the solar radiation, made it an easy decision to harvest sunlight for electricity,” explained, Graham Beck Operations Manager, Louis Jordaan.

The solar system was installed in November 2016 and has a power generation capacity of 312kW. The system comprises of 1200 solar panels that cover about 2400 square metres of Madeba estate roof space.

The electric power generated by the system is all used by the estate with the cellar consuming the bulk of the electricity. Any surplus energy is fed back into Madeba estate’s own grid.

The system, which was installed by Solareff, has a life span of at least 25 years, over which it will provide tangible environmental benefits for sustainable and responsible farming.

Explaining the long term benefits of the solar installation Jordaan said, “Solareff recently completed an impressive project at Graham Beck Wines Robertson cellar – the installation of an extensive solar system to support our electrical usage. We are extremely excited about the impact this installation will have on our sustainability efforts. This project promises to deliver considerable long term benefits for the environment as well as contribute substantially to the overall cost effectiveness of operations. We take from nature during the winemaking process and this is a nice way of giving back. At Graham Beck we not only harvest grapes to make MCC, we also harvest the sun to make kilowatts. When we switched the solar plant on, the effect was immediate. It was like magic to see how solar irradiation changes into electricity.”

Graham Beck expects the solar system to provide about 16% of its annual electricity consumption allowing the wine maker to save R305 00.00 per year on power. The system will also save the environment by cutting off about 474 tons of CO2 emissions.